September 17, 2020

Video: 4 Ways that COOs can Benefit from Workday


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In this video, Partner John Hoebler and our Chief Operating Officer Amy Bjarnason discuss how deploying one integrated system with Workday is helping to solve some of her specific challenges.

Overall, many organizations struggle with reporting and data tracking in their legacy systems, and CrossCountry’s story is no different than many other mid-sized growth companies. Over the past 10 years, we implemented a myriad of systems to meet the specific needs of our organization at that point in time. These solutions worked for a while, but as we have grown, they began to hold us back. We needed to evolve from our current processes and migrate them into one system.

Watch here, or continue for the full transcript.

JOHN HOEBLER:  Hi everyone, my name is John Hoebler, and I’m a Partner at CrossCountry Consulting.

CrossCountry recently selected Workday to be our core finance, HR, and professional services automation solution. Today I’m joined by Amy Bjarnason; she’s our Chief Operating Officer.

Hi Amy, welcome, and can you tell us a little more about your role at CrossCountry?

AMY BJARNASON:  Hi, John. Thanks for having me.

Yes, my job is to ensure that all the business operations are handled smoothly and seamlessly so that our consultants can do great quality work for our clients. And we’re really excited about Workday. As we began to look at the functionality that Workday had to offer, there are lots of things that are exciting to us.

But for me, there were four primary things that I’m looking forward to implementing: one is a better experience for our employees, second is an improved performance management system with learning integrated, a third one is a drastically improved compensation process, and the fourth is allowing the operations team to have more strategic contributions due to the efficiencies of the system.

JOHN HOEBLER:  Well, that sounds great. Can you talk a little more about that better experience for employees? How is our employees’ worlds going to be better?

AMY BJARNASON:  Well, you as a data person are really going to like this, John. I know you like data and being able to do lots of analytics. And right now as you know, you have to go to seven, eight different systems to get information available to you or you call someone from my team and ask them to do it, export it into Excel, and do some analytics for you.

The great thing about Workday is that it’s already in all of the system, and so all you need to do is have a report or a dashboard that will allow you to make a lot of actions. So for example, you would be able to look at your recruiting pipeline – you could look at your whole team and the performance of your team. You could look at the status of all your jobs and even look at the economics of those jobs, as well.

The nice thing also is that it’s delivered either to your laptop or to a mobile device with rich reporting and complex analytics. And even better, you can action a lot of things from this point of delivery. So, you could requisition a new hire, as an example. You could begin a compensation increase if you wanted. You could update a budget for a client or you could provide a spot bonus for one of our employees, all just at a click of a button.

JOHN HOEBLER:  That’s great. It sounds like my world’s going to get a lot better. What about our consultants? How is their world going to change?

AMY BJARNASON:  Our consultants are going to see a big improvement, as well. So first and foremost, instead of having five different systems that we have to train them on, they’ll come in and learn one system, and that would be Workday. They will be able to do the bulk of what they need to do in this one system. So from time and expense reporting to performance management to signing up for learning and development, to our staffing system. All of that will be in one system.

Additionally, it allows us to use the self-service functionality for Workday. Now our employees can go in and actually change their benefits, update an address, request feedback from somebody, and all of that is at their fingertips rather than having to call and ask for help in that regard.

JOHN HOEBLER:  That sounds great. I think they’ll really enjoy it. Reminds me of a quote you kind of brought up – a second thing around talent and development. As you know, our co-founder, Dave Kay, when he’s talking about our people, always says, “John, we’re not making widgets here. It’s all about our people. Our people are our most important asset.”

So how is that going to change in Workday for them?

AMY BJARNASON:  Well, Dave’s right. People are our most important asset. And to that end, we want to make sure that we’re doing performance management to the best of our ability. Workday will allow us to reimagine performance management a little bit better. All of the information will be in one system. So now our employees can go in and see any feedback created on them – from project reviews to upward feedback – and also request additional feedback from folks.

And the same goes for the folks who are evaluating our employees. They, too, will have access to all of that information, in addition to any trainings the employee took, and certifications. Also, it’s all automated with appropriate workflow and approvals, which really streamlines the process, as well.

And then from your perspective, John, as a leader, you’ll have a talent dashboard which is like your command center for everyone on your team. And that’s a significant improvement from our current functionality. You’ll be able to look at everyone on your team, their performance, trainings, certifications, and be able to slice and dice the data as you see fit.

And lastly, you can also get that succession planning tool that you’ve been looking for for so long, that also has the functionality in Workday where you can move folks around and really begin to understand what the succession planning is for key positions.

JOHN HOEBLER:  Right. Well, that sounds great. The natural extension that has compensation – we’re about to enter our compensation cycle here as we enter the fall. How is compensation going to be different than what I experience today – and what our team experiences today – as we review people’s comp?

AMY BJARNASON:  Compensation’s another area where I think we’ll see significant improvement. As you know, compensation right now requires folks to take disparate information from different systems, summarize that by individual, and then check it for both completeness and accuracy. It’s an iterative process and not real time, so that adds an additional complication.

With this system, we have all of the information that we need already in Workday. So we have performance, we have current salary, historical information, we have trends – all of that is already there.

It also provides the opportunity for someone like yourself, as a leader, to go into the system and make the appropriate changes with the right controls and approvals so that you can make changes directly into the system, and we can see real-time change there.

Lastly, the great thing is the the ability to slice and dice the data anyway you want. You can look at it by performance, by level, by geography, by office. All of that ensures that we have the most fair and objective process when reviewing compensation.

JOHN HOEBLER:  Right. Well, this has been really eye-opening because as a service line leader, I just get these great reports and analytics that your team pumps out. I’m not naive; I know that’s a lot of hard work.

You mentioned that your ops teams is going to improve with Workday, as well. Can you talk a little about that, and why the investment in Workday is important, and why it’s a benefit for our operations team?

AMY BJARNASON:  Thanks for the feedback, John. I know the team will really appreciate that.

We’re really like a duck on a pond: very calm and serene on the top but furiously working our paddles underneath. Right now, in order for us to do a lot of what we do, there’s a lot of duplicate entry, and even triple entry in some cases, to get the data into these disparate systems that I keep mentioning.

With Workday, almost all of that goes away. It’ll be a seamless integration across all of the different systems. And in so doing, it allows our team to be more focused on strategic contribution rather than inputting and manually doing these processes.

I want to give you an example to illustrate my point. Right now, we have a separate HRIS system, an HR system, a separate staffing system, and a separate CRM tool. In order for us to get someone staffed, we have to go through a lot of effort. So a new employee comes on board; we need to input them into the HR system. We also need to get them into our staffing system, and because there’s no direct integration, someone from the staffing team will then input that same person into our staffing system with all the appropriate attributions of that individual. Of course to get them staffed, we need to know what the opportunities are. We have no direct integration with our CRM tool. So the only way that we’re aware of opportunities is if our business developers and Partners and Directors communicate directly then with our staffing team. Ultimately, there’s changes, timing, all of these different things that happen and that has to constantly be re-communicated to our staffing team.

Ultimately, when we get to Workday, all of that will be more streamlined and our staffing team will spend a lot more time focused on matching the folks to the best opportunity, as well as working on what their objectives are for the individual.

JOHN HOEBLER:  Wow, that’s great. This conversation has really got me excited for Workday. Thank you for joining me today.

AMY BJARNASON:  I’m delighted to be here. I’m very excited, too. Thanks so much.